Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0009: Power Armor Batman

Hey guys!  It’s Friday, and you know what that means!  It’s time for another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today, I set my sites back on DC, specially Power Armor Batman from Kenner’s Batman Beyond tie-in line!

In the 90s, the DC Animated Universe was in its prime. Kenner held the license for the toys, and they were doing some pretty great stuff too. Batman: The Animated Series got a great line, with the majority of the characters seeing release. Sure, it wasn’t all winners, but it was a decent line.  Superman: The Animated Series came along, and while Kenner didn’t quite have the nice selection that B:TAS had gotten, most of the key characters had been released in their basic looks. And then, there was Batman Beyond. Oh, boy was there Batman Beyond. The show was great, but the toyline released along with it was… strange to say the least. For starters, they never actually released a proper normal Batman, and the supporting cast and villains were pretty much non-existent. They weren’t bad toys per say, but they didn’t do the cartoon justice. Case in point, today I’ll be looking at the line’s release of BB’s alter ego, Terry McGuinness, wearing that red and gray power armor he was so known to wear…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Okay, officially, this wasn’t a Terry McGuinness figure. He was actually labeled “Power Armor Batman” on the box. Let’s be real here: people didn’t buy this figure because it was “Power Armor Batman,” they wanted the Terry McGuinness head. Anyway, the figure was released in one of the later assortments of the first series of Kenner’s Batman Beyond line. The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. Kenner were big fans of the 5 and 5 set-up. From a purely technical standpoint, the sculpted work on the figure is pretty top notch. The circuits in his underlying suit look great, and the head is the spitting image of Terry’s appearance on the show. Stylistically, the figure’s body sculpt is completely wrong for the designs of the show, but it was in keeping with the rest of the line, so at least Kenner was consistent. The paint work is passable, with no real slop or bleed over (though mine has suffered some minor wear). For some reason, they’ve gone with a bright red and gray color scheme. Terry’s Batsuit on the show had red circuitry, so I suppose that’s what they were going for, but the light gray armor is just plain weird. The figure was accessorized with several snap-on armor pieces, a removable helmet, and a robotic bird. It’s red, green and yellow, so maybe they were going for a Robin thing? Yep, according to the package, it’s a strike R.O.B.I.N. Okay then.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Odd variants aside, I was very excited for the Batman Beyond line at the time of its release. I actually recall seeing this figure at the store several months before I actually got one. I saw the figure on a trip to the store with my parents, who told me I’d have to get it some other time. Little did they know that it would end up being one of the harder to find figures in the line. So, months went by, and I just assumed I’d missed my chance at the figure. Then, on another routine trip to the store, I wandered to the toy aisle, where I found this figure, as well as Blight. My parents were more than happy to get them for me this time around. As strange as this line was, I still have a major soft spot for those two figures in particular. Plus, they actually are pretty good toys!

This review was after I’d passed 200, so  for all intents and purposes it’s effectively a modern review.  It remains the only figure I’ve looked at from this line, a whole 1000 reviews later, which means I’ve yet to get a chance to really touch on how odd this toyline was.  I mean, this guy was actually one of the more faithful figures, and he’s still really off.  Maybe Kenner was wanting to keep these figures consistent with Total Justice and JLA?  It’s odd, because they were still running the TNBA line at this point, so you’d think they’d have wanted the two lines to be compatible, right?  I don’t know.

During The Find, I uncovered that damned R.O.B.I.N. sidekick animal thing.  It makes about as much sense as the rest of the line, I suppose.  I also found one piece of the clip-on armor, but sadly the rest of it’s still missing.  Maybe it’ll turn up one day!  At least it was the other arm piece, so he looks a little more symmetrical now.

Oh, and there’s another piece of the Me Half of the Equation that I left out initially.  I noted that I found Blight at the same time as this figure, after looking for both of them for several months?  Well, I actually found Blight first, and eagerly ran back to my parents with him in tow.  When I showed him to them, they, in their wisdom that is far beyond mine, suggested that this guy might be there too.  So, I went back to the aisle, and, sure enough, someone had cleverly hidden him behind the other, goofier Batman variants.  This figure still makes me pretty happy, truth be told, as goofy as he may be!

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#1256: Kaylee Frye

KAYLEE FRYE

FIREFLY: LECACY COLLECTION (FUNKO)

Okay, remember several months ago, when I reviewed three of the five Funko Firefly: Legacy Collection figures, and I noted in my Zoe review that, while Wash is my favorite character, Zoe’s a close second?  Well, if I’m being totally honest, Zoe does sort of share that close second spot with one other crew member: Kaywinnet Lee Frye, better known as Kaylee, Serenity’s ever cheery mechanic.  Just like it’s hard not to love Wash in all his goofiness, it’s hard not to love Kaylee’s downright genuine  enthusiasm and trust of others, especially in a show as jaded as Firefly.  Kaylee made her way into the world of action figures as part of Funko’s ReAction line, but that figure was…less than stellar.  On the plus side, she got another stab at action figure greatness not too long after, courtesy of the larger Legacy Collection.  Let’s see how that one turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kaylee is figure #3 in the Firefly: Legacy Collection, which puts her between Jayne and Wash numerically.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  The Legacy Kaylee is based on the same basic look as the smaller ReAction figure; it’s her standard sleeveless jumpsuit with a colorful shirt beneath it look, which she sported quite frequently on the show. It’s also an exact match for the what she was wearing in the promotional pictures, meaning she matches up with all of the other Legacy figures except for Mal in that respect.  Kaylee’s sculpt is fairly decent.  She’s definitely better than Mal, and more in line with the Wash and Zoe figures.  She’s a little closer to Wash, really, being a bit more on the cartoony side.  It’s not quite as drastic, but she’s definitely got a bit of stylization going on.  That being said, Kaylee still fairs quite a bit better here than she did on the smaller figure.  The head presents a passable likeness of Jewel Staite, and she’s got a nice, friendly smile.  Her features seam a touch more angular than they are in real life, but it’s rather minor.  The body sculpt has reasonable proportions, and she actually looks like a real person, so that’s good.  The details on her clothes are pretty solid; this is definitely an area where she goes just a bit more cartoony, but it actually doesn’t look bad at this scale.  Kaylee’s paintwork is mostly pretty good.  The colors all look to be appropriate matches, and there’s even a wash over most of the sculpt, to help accentuate some of the sculpt’s details.  Even her eyes are actually pretty decent, which is a nice change compared to the others in this set.  Truth be told, I think Kaylee’s the best painted Legacy figure I’ve picked up.  Like her smaller scale counterpart, Legacy Kaylee includes a wrench.  On the plus side, this figure can actually hold it.  Progress!  I wouldn’t have minded something else, since the wrench is really small.  Could they really not throw one of those cheap parasols that you get in drinks or something?  Guess I’ll just have to supply my own…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like all of the figures in this set, I passed on Kaylee when she was new.  And then I passed on her for half-price from Think Geek, mostly due to just going for the parity presented by Wash and Zoe.  I had thought about grabbing her from Movie Stop when they were going under, but by the time I got there, all they had left was Mal.  Ultimately, I ended up getting her from the Farpoint Charity Auction.  Not only was she a good deal, the money also went to a good cause, which always makes me feel even better.  I’m glad I finally got around to getting her, because she’s actually a really nice figure.  Funko’s stuff is still very uneven, but when they get it right, they get it right.  *sigh* I guess I need to get around to buying a Jayne now.  Here’s to having the same incomplete Firefly crew in TWO scales!

#1255: Star-Lord

STAR-LORD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Ooga-choka, ooga, ooga”

Wow, I cannot believe it’s been almost three years since the first Guardians of the Galaxy was released.  Of course, I also can’t believe there was a time when the general public didn’t know Groot and Rocket, and when Chris Pratt wasn’t a high profile movie star.  The galaxy’s most unlikely guardians are returning to movie screens this coming May in a film that looks set to at the very least live up to its predecessor, if not surpass it.  Hasbro, seemingly picking up on some of their short-comings with the product for the last few MCU entries, is putting out some of the movie’s product now, so hopefully it’ll still be hanging around when the movie actually hits.  The first assortment of Legends gives us a split of movie and comics characters, and supplies us with half of the film’s titular team.  Today, I’ll be looking at the first figure I grabbed from the set, legendary outlaw Star-Prince Star-Lord! 

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Star-Lord was released in the Titus Series of Marvel Legends, which is the first Guardians-themed Legends series of the year.   There’s one more series confirmed, and possibly a third at some point, depending on how generous they’re feeling.  As of late, Hasbro’s been trying to include one figure in each series of Legends that is a stand alone, and thus not necessary to complete that series’s Build-A-Figure.  Star-Lord is that figure for the Titus Series.  He’s a little under 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  The last movie gave us Star-Lord in his long coat, which ended up being a rather short-lived look in the final film.  This figure opts for the short-coated look, which was far more present.  Time will tell which look proves to be the more prominent version in the second film.  While you might assume there would be some parts re-use between the first Star-Lord and this one, this figure is actually 100% a new sculpt.  And what a sculpt it is.  Seriously, and I can’t stress this enough, the pictures don’t do this figure justice.  It’s easily the best sculpt Hasbro has put out in this line, and possibly the best they’ve done in general.  It’s a reeeeeally good sculpt.  The head is a pretty much spot-on recreation of Pratt’s Star-Lord, from the shaping of his facial features, to the slightly unkempt hair and scruffy beard.  I’ve not seen a beard sculpt look this good at this or any other small scale.  The rest of the body is pretty solid too, with super tight detailing on his clothing (the jacket even replicates the real thing’s fine texturing and has a fully defined zipper).  Even the proportions are pretty much perfect.  Okay, the sculpt is good, but Hasbro’s not always known to get the best paintwork on their figures.  That could be this guy’s undoing, right?  Wrong.  The level of detail on the face is nothing short of amazing; you can see the levels of hair on his eyebrows and beard, and even make out his irises in his eyes.  Not to be outdone, the body has all of the important details covered.  The jacket zipper is even painted, unlike on figures from some other companies out there (whose names rhyme with “Shmattell”), and he’s got a fully detailed t-shirt, despite most of it being covered by the jacket.  There’s still some minor slop here and there, but in general the work here is far above what we’ve come to expect from mass market figures.  Star-Lord is packed with his twin Element Guns from the movie, which appear to be the same molds as those from the first figure, but painted a bit better this time.  It takes some work to get them into his hands, but once they’re in he holds them well, and he can also clip them onto his legs.  He also includes his helmeted head, which, like the rest of him is a marked improvement over the one included with the last figure.  Of course, his un-helmeted head is so nice, I can’t see this one getting a ton of use, but it’s still nice to have it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Star-Lord a few weeks back at Target, while searching for the new X-Men Legends.  All they had was him and Drax (well, and the entirety of the first movie Legends assortment, because somebody decided we needed more of those), and I grabbed this guy as something of a consolation prize.  What a consolation prize he was.  This figure is such an immense improvement over his predecessor, it’s not even funny.  I’m not including a comparison of the the two because I’d like the V1 figure to maintain at least some of his dignity.  This is probably the best Legends figure that Hasbro’s ever produced, and is honestly one of the best figures I’ve gotten in recent history.  They’re gonna have to work hard to top this guy.

#1254: Catwoman

CATWOMAN

BATMAN: LEGACY (MATTEL)

Okay, I’ve really been ragging on Mattel recently.  While they’ve probably earned it, I still like to at least attempt to be even handed with my reviews here.  And, for a while there, Mattel was actually my favorite toy company.    I know, that seems like blasphemy, but when they were really in the swing of things with DC Universe Classics, they were kind of my jam.  As with Toy Biz on Marvel Legends, it’s not a line that’s aged super well, but they were top-notch at the time.  The line was even successful enough to get a few off-shoots, including Batman: Legacy, which gave us a few of the Caped Crusader’s allies and foes, all in that DCUC style.  Today, I’ll be looking at that line’s Catwoman figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Catwoman was released in the third and final series of Batman: Legacy.  While the first two series each offered a Batman and two supporting players, for some reason Series 3 only gave us Selina and 1st Appearance Batman.  Catwoman was officially dubbed a Golden Age figure, and is seen here in what most would consider her “classic” costume.  It was her first official costume (though it showed up seven years after her first appearance), worn until well into the ‘60s, and it even made a brief comeback in the ‘80s, which means it also works for the silver/bronze age incarnation of the character as well.  The point is, it was one of her longer-lived looks, and it was a pretty solid choice.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  Due to the long hair, the cape, and the skirt, her movement’s rather restricted, but you can still manage to get a few decent poses out of her.  Structurally, she’s built on Mattel’s second attempt at the female base body.  It was definitely a marked improvement over their first one (seen on Katma Tui), and is about on par with he base male body.  It looks more or less like an actual human, which I suppose is pretty good.  She got her own unique head, lower arms, and hands, and made use of Donna Troy’s boots.  She also had a new add-on for her cape, and re-used the skirt piece from Raven.  She was just stealing all of the Teen Titans’ stuff.  Which is probably in character, when you get down to it.  Clever move Mattel.  The new pieces all matched up pretty well with the pre-existing parts, which is good, and they add-up to a nice recreation of the classic Catwoman appearance.  The head is one of the stronger ones from this era, although I really do wish she’d gotten maybe a more sly facial expression.  She looks a little bit dead inside as it is.  As far as the paint goes, this figure’s pretty solid.  An argument could probably be made for he being a tad less magenta, but she doesn’t look awful in that respect.  The base application is all pretty cleanly applied, and there’s even some halfway decent accent work on the face and the skirt.  Catwoman’s only extra was a display stand, which was the same one included with all of the Legacy figures.  It had a label with her name on it, which I guess was nice.  The fact that she didn’t include her whip seems a bit silly, since Mattel already had one on hand from the last Catwoman and this one’s right hand is very clearly sculpted to be gripping that piece.  I feel that would have been a more exciting extra than the stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After skipping the entirety of Series 1, and then grabbing all of the figures in Series 2, I decided to split the difference on Series 3 and just get Catwoman.  Of course, that may have been slightly motivated by the fact that Batman: Legacy Series 3 were the first figures to hit the $20 mark at retail, which killed my buying buzz a bit.  Still, I was pretty pumped when I found this figure on the pegs at my local Target.  She’s not perfect, but I do think she’s faired a bit better over the years than some of her compatriots.  This was kind of the last hurrah for Mattel’s DC stuff when you get down to it, which is sort of sad.

#1253: Game of Thrones “Legos”

TYRION, JAIME, & BRIENNE

GAME OF THRONES BOOTLEGOS

Most of the stuff I review on this site is totally legit, and totally on the up and up.  That being said, most toy collectors will run into at least a few bootleg action figures throughout their collecting career.  I myself have always been pretty fascinated by bootlegs, but I think the most fascinating thing is just how far they’ve come.  Back when I first learned of them, they tended to just be cheap re-molds of official products, with a pure focus on producing the cheapest item possible in the hopes of ensnaring an unsuspecting buyer.  While that sort of Bootleg still exists, there’s been a serious upswing in Bootlegs that can well and truly pass as an official product.  Sometimes it offers collectors a chance at a cheaper version of an expensive figure (as seen with the knock-off Ninja Turtles I looked at last summer), but with increasing frequency, they’ve started expanding collections by offering things you wouldn’t be able to get through legitimate means.  Like, say, if you wanted a set of Legos based on the characters from Game of Thrones

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The three Minifigures presented here are based on Brienne of Tarth and Tyrion & Jaimie Lannister, as seen on HBO’s Game of Thrones.  From what I’ve been able to find online, there’s twelve of these figures out there, with Jon, Joffery, a White Walker, Drogo, Daenerys, Ygritte, Varys, Melisandra, and Arya all also being represented.  I’ve seen a number of different company names attached to them, which is pretty typical with these sorts of lines, since they aren’t strictly legal.  It looks like they’ve just started showing up in the last year or so.

Tyrion is kind of a lock with any GoT merch, even the illegitimate stuff.  He’s seen here in this season 1/season 2 attire, and his lack of a scar shows he predates the Battle of Blackwater.  His base body is a good mimic of the standard Lego faire, to the point the most people would be unlikely to notice.  There’s a little more give to the plastic than there would be on a real Lego product, but that’s about it.  He uses the smaller leg piece, to help make him shorter than the others, as well as the surfer dude hair, which is actually a pretty good fit.  Like his construction, his paint is a pretty good mock of the actual Lego stuff; you can clearly make out the important details on his vest, and his face is a halfway decent Lego-ization of Dinklage.  His scuff is a bit dark I think, but that’s about it.  Tyrion’s gimmick is drinking and knowing things; knowing things is a bit hard to indicate through accessories, so he has to settle for just the drinking bit, with the included golden goblet.  It’s half as tall as he is, which is more than a little amusing.

Jaimie may not be GoT’s most pivotal character, but he’s one of the more intriguing ones (for me anyway).  He’s had a diverse selection of looks throughout the show’s run, but this figure goes for his Kingsguard look from season 1, just like his Funko figure did.  It’s probably his most distinctive look, even if he didn’t spend a ton of time in it.  He uses the Snape hair, which is a reasonable fit for the character, I suppose.  He’s also got the standard knight’s armor piece, and a cloth cape.  The cape I think is the piece that most gives this away as inauthentic; it’s just not the same quality as the usual Lego capes.  It’s not awful, but it also hangs a bit weird.  Jaime’s paint is decent enough, and I really like the chainmail details on the arms and legs.  That being said, the decision to mold his body in all white feels slightly off to me.  Maybe more of a cream color would have worked better?  He’s packed with a fairly standard broadsword, which suits him well enough.

Brienne is one of my favorite parts of Game of Thrones.  She’s one of the few noble characters to have stuck around, and I continue to enjoy her in every appearance.  Here’s hoping she gets more to do next season!  This figure appears to be based on her early appearances, back when she was lugging Jaime around.  I think.  The cape is throwing me.  She uses the generic hairpiece used for the likes of Cyclops and Hal Jordan, along with the same armor piece used for Jaime, which captures her general look pretty well.  She also gets a cloth cape and skirting under her armor.  The cloth pieces are a little more convincing here, but still a little off.  Her paint isn’t quite as finely detailed as Jaime’s, but it looks like her to me, so I’m satisfied.  In particular, I really like that look of determination on her face; it’s so Brienne!  Like Jaime, she includes a basic broadsword.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these up from one of the venders at this year’s Farpiont.  I was just wandering through the dealer’s room, and I casually looked over at the Lego table, when a Drogo caught my eye.  They had the whole set of twelve, but I ended up going with the characters that looked the best, which were these three.  It’s so odd to have Legos of this sort of property, but I’m certainly not complaining.  I think Brienne’s my favorite of the set, with Tyrion not far behind.  Jaime’s okay, but seems the most off of the bunch.  Still, all three are solid little figures.  Now, I just need to avoid falling down the bootlego rabbit hole completely.  That would be bad.

#1252: Ms. Marvel

MS MARVEL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

After sorting out their issue of not ever being able to hold onto a character named Captain Marvel by promoting the original Ms. Marvel to Captain, Marvel ran into another problem:  what do they do about the Ms. Marvel name they just vacated?  They kind of need to have a character using that name, lest some distinguished competition steal it out from under them.  While they had solved the first problem by promoting an old character, the Ms. Marvel problem was solved be creating an all-new character entirely.  Enter Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenager, who also happens to be an Inhuman (though that doesn’t really get brought up much; if she’d been introduced five years prior she would have just been a mutant) who possesses shape shifting abilities.  Not gonna lie, I like shape shifters, so that was a good start.  She hit the ground running with one of Marvel’s better solo books back in 2014, and she’s even made her way into the Avengers and the recently re-launched Champions.  And now, she’s got the very best thing of all: an action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ms. Marvel was released in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  It’s either the last 2016 series of Spider-Man Legends or the first 2017 series, depending on how you want to look at it.  The figures started hitting at the tail end of December (which is how I got Spider-UK), but a lot of places are only just starting to see them show up.  Why is Ms. Marvel in a Spider-Man series?  Your guess is as good as mine.  As far as I know, there aren’t any strictly Avengers-themed sets planned for a while, and she certainly fits in better here than with the X-Men or Guardians stuff.  A figure’s a figure; I’m certainly not going to complain.  Her figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Kamala is built not the Spider-Girl body, which is always a good starting point in my opinion, and is a good fit for the character.  She gets a new head, and upper and lower torso pieces, as well as add-ons for her bracelet and scarf.  All of the new pieces are really solid additions; Ms Marvel has a pretty distinctive art style, which kind of informs how the character should look, but can also be tricky when trying to have her fit in with an established line.  You never want to go too artist specific with a line like this, but you also don’t want her to end up too bland and generic.  She walks the line pretty well; she’s clearly taking inspiration from her solo book, but she also feels right at home with the rest of the line.  I sort of wish her face were a little more expressive or goofy, since that’s sort of her character, but I can see why they’d want something slightly more neutral.  It’s a nice sculpt regardless.  My one minor complaint is just an issue with my figure; one of her ankle joints is pretty well stuck, and it’s made keeping her standing quite the difficult task.  Kamala’s paint is nice, bold, and bright, which is definitely appropriate for her.  The gold in particular is a really nice shade, and doesn’t appear to be the sort of gold that will start to degrade over time. Application is mostly pretty sharp, with only some minor slop, mostly around the edge of her sleeves.  Shapeshifting can be a difficult power set to show off in toy form, but Hasbro’s given it their best go.  Kamala includes an alternate pair of foreams, which are enlarged and stretched out.  While they loose the wrist movement, they are otherwise really fun pieces.  This is probably the best way of handling the shapeshifting thing, and I hope they do something similar when they tackle Mr. Fantastic.  In addition to the extra arms, she also includes the torso the the Series’s Build-A-Figure, Sandman.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kamala was definitely at the top of my want list from this series.  I’ve been following her comic since issue 1, and I’ve really enjoyed the character.  I was bummed back in December when I thought I’d missed her figure.  Fortunately, I ended up finding her and the rest of the series at a local K-Mart.  Unfortunately, K-Mart seems to have started hiking up their prices, and were asking for an extra $5 per figure.  Not worth it for the others, but I didn’t mind so much in Kamala’s case.  This is definitely a solid figure, and another win for Hasbro!

#1251: Kilowog

KILOWOG

GREEN LANTERN: MOVIE (MATTEL)

You know how I rag on Mattel a lot, but sometimes they still do things right, and I can give them props?  This isn’t one of those times.

2011’s Green Lantern isn’t a particularly well-regarded film.  In a lot of ways, I don’t think it deserves a lot of the hate it gets.  It had the misfortune of being released in a summer already pretty jam-packed with super hero movies, three of which hailed from Marvel and were generally above expectations.  Marvel fans wanted another Iron Man (which, in their defense, is what DC was promoting the film as; not their smartest move) and DC fan’s wanted The Dark Knight.  The end result is really more in line with Tim Burton’s Batman movies.  It definitely could have been better, but it was far from awful.  One of the movie’s better aspects was its cast.  The late Michael Clarke Duncan made his second turn in super hero flick (his first being the similarly maligned Daredevil; I ain’t defending that one!), playing the GL drill sergeant Kilowog.  He got a few figures courtesy of Mattel’s tie-in line.  I’ll be looking at the standard version today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kilowog was released in the first series of Green Lantern figures, which hit about a month or so before the movie’s release.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on these figures was really strange; it’s not totally out of the ordinary to see lesser articulated figures in the 3 3/4-inch scale, but these figures randomly had extra shoulder joints, which tend to come after elbows and knees in the articulation hierarchy.  Also, while Hasbro’s started offering more lower POA figures as of late, their competing figures from 2011’s Thor and Captain America lines were fully articulated.  Heck, even Mattel’s own DC Infinite Heroes line was fairly decently articulation.  I’m not really sure why these figures were so out of sync with everything around them.  I’m getting distracted.  Sorry.  Kilowog had a unique sculpt initially, but it would eventually be reused for a number of variants as the line progressed.  It’s a reasonable translation of Kilowog’s movie design.  Of course, the problem with that is that his movie design wasn’t really their strongest.  I mean, it’s nice that he didn’t have the same muscle striation thing that Hal did, but he’s just for of lumpy looking.  Also, they seriously tweaked the shape of his head, which always bugged me; he looks more like Shrek than Kilowog.  Objectively speaking, the head on this figure was definitely the best part.  It’s actually so detailed that it looks rather out of place on the smooth and mostly featureless body.  They almost look like they belong to different figures.  Also, note that once again Mattel has made no attempt to work the articulation into the sculpt.  It’s especially bad at the waist, where there’s really no good reason to have a joint that obvious.  Like many of this line’s figures, Kilowog’s feet are bent back a little too far, which results in a lot of falling on his back.  Getting the two photos for this review was no small feat.  As far as paint, Kilowog was okay, but suffers from a very similar issue as with the sculpt.  The head has some very nice, very subtle work, which makes him look really lifelike.  Then the body seems to just let the paint go where it goes.  One thing that really frustrated me with this whole line was the inconsistency of the greens.  Pretty much ever lantern had their own shade, which was really odd, since that wasn’t true onscreen.  Was it really that hard to pick on pantone number and stick with it?  Each figure in the line included their own construct piece to slip over their ring hand.  Kilowog actually didn’t get a proper construct, but instead got the larger hand adapter piece, which allowed for him (and other larger figures) to make use of the constructs included with smaller figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up a handful of the GL movie figures when they were first released, during my pre-movie excitement, and Kilowog was one of those figures.  No figure in this line is particularly noteworthy, but Kilowog was probably the best the line had to offer.  He’s got his issues, but he’s also got some saving graces, which is more than can be said about a lot of the line.

#1250: Baron Zemo

BARON ZEMO

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

Earlier this month, I took a look at Baron Helmut Zemo, who’s one of my favorite Captain America villains. Well, he’s my favorite Cap villain that’s not a crazy leaping Frenchman…or a robot with face for a torso…look, he’s nearer the top of the list than he is the bottom, alright?  Anyway, I looked at Helmut, but he wasn’t the first Baron Zemo to face off against Cap.  No, that would be his dad, Baron Heinrich Zemo, who, amongst other things, founded the Masters of Evil.  Heinrich hasn’t been quite as prevalent to the toy world as his son, but he’s gotten a few entries.  He was actually the only Baron Zemo to be released during Toy Biz’s lengthy tenure producing Marvel figures, and was even one of the last figures they produced.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baron Zemo was released in Series 14 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, which was also commonly known as the “Mojo Series” after its Build-A-Figure.  It was the penultimate series of the line, and ended up being rushed into production so that Toy Biz could get it out before passing the license off to Hasbro.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  As with so many of Toy Biz’s Legends figures, there was a definite priority placed on the articulation over the integrity of the sculpt on this guy.  For some, that was less of an issue, but on this guy?  Oh boy, it’s pretty bad.  Now, admittedly, there were some production things that made some problems crop up that weren’t on the initial prototype (mostly the neck), but this guy was always going to look sort of…weird.  His shape is vaguely human, I guess.  The hands and feet were definitely too large, the neck too long, the waist both too high and too thin, and the limbs too skinny.  His clothes are both uncomfortably clingy and oddly loose, in a way that he would have to have them sewn on him that way.  It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  I mean, if you take some of the pieces individually, there’s some good stuff there.  The head is pretty good, and captures his comics design pretty well.  The boots are also pretty nice, especially the fur lining.  The holster’s okay, but the gun’s non removable, which is always very frustrating.  Other than that, though, it’s pretty goofy.  Did no one stand back, look at this guy, and go “that looks nothing like a human?”  Because I did that.  On top of the very questionable sculpt, there were also some major quality control issues on this series in particular.  Most of the figures, Zemo included, were saddled with incredibly rubbery joints.  It makes getting him to stand quite difficult, and leaves him always looking the slightest bit deflated.  The paintwork on this guy is probably his strongest aspect.  It’s still not perfect; the gold pieces in particular are a real mess, and the washes can be rather hit and miss.  However, it’s still pretty passable.  Zemo included the head and upper torso of Mojo, as well as a weird staff thing.  The staff is kind of goofy; there’s a hole in the handle and a corresponding peg in his right hand, but he never holds it in a particularly convincing way.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got most of Series 14 for as Christmas presents in 2006, and Zemo was amongst them.  I was happy to have him at the time (Legends was my absolute favorite line to collect at that point), but even when he was new, I knew he was less than stellar in execution.  This is definitely a figure I’d like to see Hasbro tackle at some point, especially since I liked their Helmut figure so much.

Flashback Figure Friday #0008: Robin

Hey, look at that, I missed another Friday.  Last week was pretty jam-packed, and I barely had the time to right Friday’s main review, much less a second feature.  Nevertheless, I apologize to all of you who were expecting one of these last week!

This week’s Flashback Friday Figure Addendum is actually less an addendum, and more me going back and finally writing a proper review for #0166: Robin.  Why?  You’ll see in a second.

Okay guys and gals, hang on tight. The site is about to go off! No, not like “off” off. It’s still gonna be here. It’s going off in a metaphorical sense, because today, we’ll be looking at one of the greatest entries into the world of action figures ever.

This figure hails from the very first Batman line released once Mattel had picked up the DC license. I know I’ve been hard on Mattel in the past, but it’s only because I’ve been trying to hold them to the standards they set for themselves so early into their run. You see, this Batman line was important, but not for the ways you think. Oh, sure the Batmen were cool and all (especially those sweet neon colored gun-toting variants!), but the real star of this line was Robin! So, let’s have a look at the greatest toy to ever grace shelves!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was the flagship figure of the first series of Batman. He was the real heavy hitter of the wave, there so that Mattel could take chances on the Joker and Martial Arts Batman. He stands about 5 inches tall, and has 10 points of articulation, which may seem like a low number, but they had to take that awesome sculpt into account. Speaking of that awesome sculpt: has Robin ever looked this cool before? I mean, they really out did themselves. I’ve always found that a bad head sculpt can ruin a great figure. In this case, Mattel has wisely chosen to leave off the head so as to avoid any potential issue. This is the first time I’ve ever truly believed that Robin could make people think he’s anyone other than Tim Drake. I mean, Tim Drake has a head and Robin doesn’t. Can’t be the same guy! I’d also love to commend Mattel on the body sculpt, which perfectly captures Robin’s physique. I mean, those muscles are so realistic! And the torso’s straight posture coupled with the relaxed muscles everywhere else? Perfection. I’m heartbroken to say that I lost the accessories included with Robin. He had his ever present Blade-Shield thingy with his logo on it, which was such an important staple of the character at the time. It even launched discs! Who doesn’t need one of those?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew as soon as I saw the prototype pictures of this figure back in 2003 that it was going to be the figure to own. So, naturally, I spent all my time searching for this figure at every nearby store, day and night. Eventually I found one, and after sucker punching a four year old and his grandmother to get it, finally the figure was in my possession!

Yeah, so this was my first April Fool’s Day post.  It’s almost quaint, isn’t it?  This review was more a joke thing than anything.  Now a days, I’d have written the review both ways, but the figure was quite incomplete at the time.  Since I finally found this guy’s freaking head, I guess I can actually review him now!

The figure, officially titled “Battle Board Robin,” was released in the first series of Mattel’s 2003 Batman line.  Robin stands about 6 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  The main hook of this line at the time was that they’d brought in the Four Horsemen (who had just helped Mattel relaunch Masters of the Universe) to sculpt most of the figures, including the Bat-variants.  There was one exception to this in the first series.  Care to guess who it was?  Yep, it was this here Robin figure, which was handled by Mattel’s in-house team.  In their defense, it’s actually a decent enough sculpt.  It doesn’t look quite as good as the  prototype did, but what figure does?  His muscles are sort of impossible, and I’ve always disliked how stiff he was, bit there are some nice things about the sculpt.  The boots in particular look pretty solid.  But how about that head that I finally found after all these years?  Well, full disclosure: the reason it was missing when I found him was because I had fully intended to replace it with another one.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t particularly good at sculpting at 12, so the replacement I made wasn’t much better.  Ultimately, this one’s okay, but not my favorite Robin head.  I think it’s got a lot to do with the hair, which just doesn’t really look like anything Tim ever sported.  Also, still missing from the figure is his cape.  It was just two pieces of fabric glued together, and was too thick and short to actually hang realistically.  It’s kind of exhibit A of why I prefer capes to be sculpted.  In terms of paint, this figure was fairly basic colors.  For some reason the gloves are black.  Don’t know why, never did.  The accents on the muscles and some of the other sculpted work actually weren’t standard to the figure; I added them around the time that I tried replacing the head.  I really wanted to salvage this figure for some reason.  His only accessory was his titular Battle Board, which was really just a disc launcher than he could also stand on.  It was an odd choice.

There’s actually not a particularly exciting figure regarding the acquisition of this figure.  He, Joker, and the basic (Zipline) Batman were all really hard to find when these figures started hitting stores.  I eventually found him at the KB Toys near where my family vacationed (I got him alongside some Star Trek: Nemesis figures.  Oh what a joyous day that was).  He’s not awful, but he’s also not super great.  The saddest thing is that Mattel never actually returned to this design for Robin (apart from an inaccurate repaint of the later DCUC figure), so this is the best there is from them.   

#1249: Hank Venture

HANK VENTURE

THE VENTURE BROS (BIF BANG POW!)

Hey look, another Venture Bros figure.  That’s…probably rather predictable, isn’t it?  Yeah, I’d say so.  Yesterday, I looked at half of the titular duo, so it’s only proper that today I look at the other half.  So, without further ado, here’s Dean’s brother Hank!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like Dean, Hank was part of the short-lived small-scale Venture Bros line from Bif Bang Pow!  He was released alongside his brother and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, in the first “wave” of figures.  The figure is about 3 3/4 inches tall (he’s just a hair taller than his brother, as he should be) and he has 10 points of articulation.  His movement is the same as his brother’s, which is to be expected.  I’d still like a little more movement, but the basics are at least covered.   I do have to say that, while he’s thicker than his brother, he’s also not quite as easy to keep standing as Dean was, which can be rather frustrating.  Hank is sporting his early, Fred Jones-inspired look, which, as I noted in Dean’s review, is easily his most distinctive look.  In terms of translating his 2D look into 3D, I don’t know that Hank is quite as successful as Dean.  He’s still very close, but something seems just the slightest bit off.  I do like that he and Dean clearly have the same facial structure, just like they do in the show.  It really sells them as brothers.  Hank’s sculpt is pretty solid work, and they’ve gotten the important details down.  He carries himself better than his slightly hunched brother, which looks good overall, but does result in him looking a little stiffer than Dean.  Not sure who that could have been avoided, though.  Hank’s paint is a bit of a step down from Dean.  Of course, Dean was really good, so that’s not the worst thing ever.  The basic work is decent, and the face is still pretty clean.  Mostly, the issues have to do with the lines around his neckerchief, which are just very sloppy.  I’ve seen worse, but it’s still pretty noticeable.  The price of working with white paint, I suppose.  Like his brother, Hank doesn’t come with any extras of his own, but he does get another item for Brock: a knife.  That would probably be awesome if I had a Brock figure!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I ordered Hank from Amazon at the same time as Dean, as you can’t really have just one of the brothers.  That would be kind of weird.  While he’s got some minor issues, he’s by and large on par with Dean, and that’s really great.  These pair make for a nice little set.  Maybe someday I’ll actually find a Brock to go with them, but until then at least I have the two of them.  Go Team Venture!